Adapting to the ongoing digitisation of the economy is arguably the most challenging transformation every business is currently facing. Digital tools and trends are invading the business environment faster than companies can react, provoking significant changes in the way we communicate, consume, work, buy and sell.
The scale and pace of the change brought by “digital” is matched only by large-scale industrial revolutions that leveraged coal or electricity and energized entire industries by removing fundamental constraints under which manufacturing operated, leading to unprecedented increases in productivity and lower costs. Digital media and application platforms are now driving a new revolution, creating richer dynamics between people and disrupting business. But where the electricity revolution empowered and enriched businesses rather than individuals, the digital revolution has the potential to empower everybody
Pre-digital revolution, the function of companies was to produce, the function of media was to broadcast and consumers consumed. Digital tools have broken the monopoly of the media, enabling everyone to become a publisher and in some sectors they’ve broken the hold of companies on their industries, such as taxis and hotels. Companies no longer control their own narrative nor do they control the provision of goods and services.
More Commitment Needed. These changes do not mean traditional companies are doomed to fail. Incumbents who embrace the vision, customer centricity and organisational transformation necessary to impress consumers across every channel can, in fact, maintain and even strengthen their position, as examples from L’Oréal, Red Bull, Maersk or GE show.
According to research by Capgemini and the MIT Sloan School of Management, mature digital leaders do two things in combination that separate them from rivals. First, they invest in technology-enabled initiatives to change how the company operates, including new platforms, apps, big data capabilities, holographic technology or even artificial intelligence. Second, they create a vision and governance framework to effectively drive change through the organisation and build strong business-IT relationships necessary to implement technology-based change. This strategic vision often rests on a tight integration of the customer perspective in every aspect of the business such as insight capabilities, marketing strategy, finance or HR functions. Successful companies are 26 percent more profitable than their average competitors, the report finds.
Such a change has profoundly changed the nature of marketing and encouraged the emergence of a new kind of capability: digital marketing strategies, resulting in deeper interconnections with customers (outside the company) and broader interconnections of marketing capabilities with other functions in the company, from strategy to HR (within the company).
It is for this reason that we launched Leading Digital Marketing Strategy, an Executive Education programme to help executives understand how to create consistent, strong engagement with customers across platforms and leverage data to optimise and enhance the customer experience in coordination with other capabilities within the organisation.
What WorksDigital technologies are changing the rules of every industry. But one of the most important “laws in business” has not changed at all: customer centricity and customer orientation. Steering the digital transformation by transforming organisations, processes and technology without putting the customer at the centre of your digital strategy simply does not work.
Success in digital marketing requires both learning new skillsets about how to successfully leverage new platforms, and fundamentally, it requires going back to the grass roots of business: the customer, and understand how the digital revolution has transformed customer behaviour. Building on these insights, companies can put customers at the front and centre of strategy and design an experience that will turn each one into an influencer, pulling customer trends into decision-making and product creation.